30 November 2006

St. Andrew's Day

A blessed St. Andrew's Day to you all! May God especially bless a particular Andrew of my acquaintance whose first-born came into the world this week, and his wife whose birthday is today.

And also, may God bless Scotland and Russia! Russia, especially, needs our prayers.

Don't forget to start your St. Andrew's novena today:

"Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe O my God to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen."

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

23 November 2006

Not that Henry VIII

If you're not familiar with the song "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am," then go listen to the original music-hall version from 1911, and then watch the cute and dorky Herman's Hermits perform their version on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965. Some British music for your Thanksgiving :)

15 November 2006

A Prayer Request

The novices of the Oregon Province of the Jesuits are currently on their 30-day silent retreat, ending December 3, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. Please keep them and all the Jesuits in their prayers.

08 November 2006

Shuffle 2

This week's random playlist:

1. "Sentimental Journey" Doris Day
2. "Sympathique" Pink Martini
3. "Die Entzukung" F.X. Mozart, sung by Barbara Bonney
4. "The Wind that Shakes the Barley/Dusk among the Willows" Grey Larsen and Paddy League
5. "Lux polis refulgens, lux et gloria" Anonymous 4
5. "Etude Op. 25" Unknown, played by Elizabeth Hainen (harp)
6. "Simple Gifts" Arr. Rene Clausen, sung by Gonzaga University Choir
7. "Cadwith Anthem" Steeleye Span
8. "If Wishes were Horses" Robbie O'Connell
9. "Valse in D flat Major" Chopin, played by Istvan Szekely
10. "Beat of Your Heart" Hayley Westenra

06 November 2006

Move Over, Spem in Alium

Forget Spem, forget Striggio's Ecce beatam lucem--there's a new 40-part piece in town, thought to have been lost for centuries. The piece is Striggio's Missa sopra Ecco si beato giorno, recently rediscovered by UC Berkeley's Davitt Moroney. It's been sitting in the Biblotheque National in Paris for ages, mis-catalogued. The final Agnus Dei is actually in sixty parts, and the entrance of each choir is in stretto. The piece is probably the most complex in all the polyphonic liturature. I got to see a facsimile of the manuscript yesterday when Dr. Moroney presented a paper about his discovery at the American Musicological Society conference here in Los Angeles. No one has performed it yet, but I bet it's amazing.

Hopefully Dr. Moroney will publish a paper on it soon. It would be great if I could tell you the whole story of this fantastic composition--involving Striggio, his master Francesco di Medici, Archduke Maximilian II, Albrecht V of Bavaria, the King of France, the Queen of England, and a midwinter trek over the Alps--but I'm sure I wouldn't get the chain of events quite right.